Tuesday, February 17, 2009

ION HD Launch Delayed, Details on Switch to DTV on June 12; Retroality.TV Interviews Gilligan's Island's Dawn Wells

We mentioned twice about ION Television going HD. First the initial report, then the launch date of Feb. 16. Obviously that launch date to HD didn't happen yesterday. ION says it wanted to "reduce consumer confusion" surrounding Congress' decision to move the DTV hard date to June 12, so ION Television announced it will push back its launch in high definition one month to March 16 instead. ION was planning to launch in HD on Feb. 16, in 20 markets where it has TV stations. Now those same 20 will launch March 16, with the other 40 stations coming on board later in the year.
B&C reports, ION's 40 other stations are still going to make the transition to digital on Feb. 17, but about two thirds of the nation's roughly 1,800 TV stations will be delaying pulling the plug on the analog version of their primary signal after the administration asked, and Congress consented, to move the date.
So, yes the transition to DTV was supposed to take place today. But President Obama, the House, and Congress moved the date to June 12 instead citing that most people were still not ready. Many stations will still make the transition to digital today, but the entire country won't be ready until June 12. This will the government more time to set up call centers and get DTV-to-analog converter box coupons to ALL viewers, though it will also create some confusion as viewers now have several analog cut-off dates to contend with.
So if you still have an old television with no cable or satellite, I urge you to head to DTVAnswers.com for information on how to still watch TV. This is a big mess, as February sweeps was moved to March because of this and now it isn't happening on Feb. 17 anymore. I haven't mentioned this on the blog at all, but we urge you to head to DTVAnswers.com for any questions and how to get a converter box if you're TV is not ready.

Our buddy Chris Mann has his February cover feature posted on his website Retroality.TV. This time he goes one-on-one with Gilligan's Island's Mary Ann herself--Dawn Wells! I cannot believe she is 70, she still practically looks the same! Dawn "Mary Ann" Wells (now a film actors boot camp mentor) opens up about her Mary Jane scandal/arrest, Michael Phelps' bong fiasco, the upcoming Gilligan's Island feature film, and Tina "The Movie Star" Louise's 40-year Island exile.
I'll share some interesting quotes from Chris' interview with Dawn:
ON HER ARREST
"I had that horrible experience with that fake arrest. It wasn't fake--I was arrested but it wasn't legitimate. He's in jail now, as a matter of fact, the guy who arrested me. And the sheriff has also been under investigation for false arrest. It was a very unfortunate situation. And I was very, very aware of what the press can do. ... It was very, very difficult. And I finally said to somebody, "I'm not sure if Britney Spears has two boys." I don’t believe anything I read anymore."
ON CO-STAR TINA "THE MOVIE STAR" LOUISE
"(The 2004 TV Land Awards) was very awkward, though. I'd heard there was a rumor that she wouldn't sit with us, or she wanted to get paid to sit with us ... So she didn't sit with us. But afterward, we all took a picture with Sherwood Schwartz. And then after that somebody wanted to interview us, and Tina and I sat down together for the first time ever. And she was very complimentary about the show. I almost fell off the chair. (She said,) 'The little kids really like it, and I'm reading to kids and kids appreciate it.' And I thought, 'Well, maybe it's taken this much time to realize how grateful we all should be for that show.' I haven't run into her (since), but we're always very civil."
For the rest of the great questions from Chris to Dawn Wells, check out his FULL interview at Retroality.TV. It is about 4-parts long, so great job by Chris! He even has video excerpts from Entertainment Tonight and The View! Coming soon from Chris will be an interview with Janet Wood herself--Joyce DeWitt! And speaking of interviews, we here at SitcomsOnline.com also have some in the works that you will love to read. I won't give it away until it is official, but many of you will enjoy them! Stay tuned...

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Comcast onDemand Adds Classic Warner Bros Channel; BET Adds Fresh Prince Marathon to Holiday Slate

Back in September we told you Warner Bros. has partnered with Comcast to have some of their shows stream online for free on Fancast.com and that they were going to develop an onDemand service by 4th quarter. Well it is now 4th quarter obviously, and they have added that onDemand service on Comcast cable systems! The onDemand channel is called "TheWB" under TV Entertainment on Comcast onDemand. As of now get the first 5 or 6 episodes of urban sitcoms Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Martin, All of Us, and short-lived drama Jack & Bobby. We don't have a list at press time of what other series they will be adding in the future, but given their vast library, you can expect about anything, especially what is on Fancast.com, which I will tell you in a bit. I'll keep you up to date on any happenings. Hopefully we get more classics on the onDemand service, though. Wouldn't it be nice to have series such as The Hogan Family, Perfect Strangers, Gilligan's Island and the drama Life Goes On at our leisure anytime on TV?
Comcast's Fancast.com has added a lot of Warner Bros. owned series to their website since we last reported. Back in September they only had more current stuff like Smallville, One Tree Hill, and Friends, but now we also get the classics! It seems Warner/AOL's In2TV doesn't really work anymore, so Fancast.com is now the place to go for classic Warner Bros. TV. They have added about 17 series with many episodes of each to their Classic Warner Bros. TV slate. Among the series are Perfect Strangers, Gilligan's Island, Head of the Class, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, Growing Pains, Mama's Family, Welcome Back Kotter, CHiPs, Eight is Enough, Lois & Clark, and Wonder Woman! All these have been on In2TV, so it is nothing really new, but still nice to have! These episodes on Fancast.com are not in any order and are random episodes...most of them have Christmas themed episodes among their listings, so catch Balki trying to give Mr. Gorpley the Christmas spirit on Perfect Strangers.
One more way to watch Warner Bros. TV is through TheWB.com, but that is mainly for more current series though they do have a few classics in there like In Living Color, as we have told you in the past. Original web series are also on TheWB.com.

Late last week we gave you details on BET's sitcom marathons this week (hope you're enjoying Family Matters today!), but now they have announced one more marathon! The marathon will be on Monday, December 29 and will be the sitcom ... The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! How is that possible? As with Family Matters, they have borrowed it from sister Viacom station Nick at Nite, and this the series is NOT joining the line-up. It is just for this marathon. The marathon airs from 4pm-10pm, since Viacom doesn't have access to air the series in daytime, due to TBS owning that period for the series. The marathon will encore from 11pm-4am. In other BET week of December 29 news, One on One will lead into the Fresh Prince marathon in the daytime from 1pm-4pm. One on One will also have a mini-block on Tuesday, December 30 from 1pm-6pm. Hell Date returns to the schedule airing in the late night from 3-4am on weekdays. Nickelodeon series Romeo! and Just Jordan return on Saturday, Jan. 3 with back-to-back episodes from 9-11am leading into a six-episode block of The Proud Family from 11am-2pm and then One on One from 2-5pm.
Stay tuned early next week when we give you BET's January schedule (starts 1/5) which will feature The Proud Family, as we mentioned, and also another series...this a long-running talk show that is no longer airing! Find out what that is next week!
For now, once again view the BET Classic Sitcom Holiday marathon episodes list, which now featured Fresh Prince.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Equity's RTN Sold to Luken Communications; Me-Too in Chicago Airing Classic Movies Now, Too, More TV Shows Added

Equity Media Holdings Corporation announced it has closed an asset sales transaction with Luken Communications, LLC, a group led by Equity Media's largest shareholder Henry Luken III (the "Investors"). The Investors purchased Equity Media's Retro Television Network (RTN) subsidiary for $18.50 million. Equity Media has the option to repurchase RTN at any time during the next six months. Concurrently with the closing of the RTN sale, the Investors purchased for $1.50 million warrants to purchase up to 8,050,000 shares of Equity Media for $1.10 per share. Equity Media also has entered into asset purchase agreements with the Investors for the sale by Equity Media of certain television stations. Equity Media has received a $5 million prepayment on the stations sale from the Investors. The stations sale will be consummated, and Equity Media will receive the remaining payment of $12.5 million, upon receipt of FCC and certain other approvals. Following consummation of the station sales, Equity Media will continue to own and operate 100 stations in 35 markets representing 24.8% of U.S. television households based on Equity Media's current stations roster.
View the full press release for more details. So what does this mean? It is hard to tell. I have asked RTN to see what is up, so I'll let you all know what they say. I think it won't affect current RTN affiliates. It doesn't mean the network is on its way out or that it won't add more stations since it was sold to another group, but I don't know if this is good or bad. We'll have to see in the coming weeks.

Beginning Monday June 30 at 7:00pm, Me-Too (WMEU-TV) in Chicago rolls out the red carpet for "Me-Too Movie Classics," a showcase for a wide variety of Hollywood's greatest movies, stars and directors. From the classic to kitsch to cult, "Me-Too's Movie Classics" brings back classic films to free, over the air television with minimal content editing and only five minutes of internal commercial break time.
Theme weeks include a look at significant movies of the 1970s featuring Easy Rider, Bob, Carol, Ted & Alice and Butterflies Are Free. A week of screwball/classic comedies includes The Twentieth Century, Born Yesterday and the original Brewster's Millions. A week of Joan Crawford classics include the truly classic as well as campy Crawford performances from the 1950s and 1960s.
Adding classic movies to the schedule of Me-Too serves to further distinguish Me-Too as the snappy sibling of Me-TV, Chicago's beloved home of Classic TV, and provide a unique and uncluttered environment for advertisers seeking an engaged, loyal and receptive audience.
The movies will air weeknights at 7:00pm and Saturdays at 1:00pm with many other stars like Jack Lemmon, Jack Nicholson, Jackie Gleason, Jane Fonda, Carl Reiner, Peter Falk, Dick Van Dyke, Burt Reynolds and John Ritter. The movies for the summer are available in a list form on our message boards. You may also discuss the movie list and stars there, which also has a lot of classic TV stars in feature films.

Adding movies is not the only thing happening on June 30. Me-Too will change their classic TV line-up a bit too. Me-Too launched back in March with this launch schedule, that has continued until today, but now some changes are coming. Gilligan's Island, Ozzie and Harriet, Rawhide, are among the new series coming to Me-Too. View the new Me-Too schedule.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Strike Update; ME-TV Coming to Milwaukee, Chicago to Launch ME-Too; RTN Coming to Illinois

Well we all know the strike is just about over. Yesterday I mentioned that they had a press conference. So what happened in it? They announced a vote will be held on Tuesday. A yes vote means they are voting to end the strike immediately; a no vote means they are voting to continue the strike during the ratification process.
So the strike has unofficially ended, but it won't be official until after this vote. It is widely expected that the WGA members will indeed vote yes on the new deal and the writers would return to work Wednesday.
So today is technically still day 99 of the strike. And tomorrow is day 100, the last day technically of the strike. How cool is it that this will all end officially on day 100. We will have more on the vote and more details this week.

You all know about ME-TV in Chicago. The local Chicago station (WWME-23) that airs classic TV, well now the same people will bring ME-TV in Milwaukee! ME-TV will launch in Milwaukee March 1 with a lineup that will include programs such as I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show and Lost in Space.
ME-TV in Milwaukee will be on a new digital subchannel on Channel 58.3 (WDJT). In addition to being available over the air at 58.3, it will have a spot on the Time Warner and Charter digital lineups. For the record, Channel 58's less-than-full power sister channel, WMLW-TV - Channel 41 over the air and Channel 7 on Time Warner Cable - airs at 58.2.
Stay tuned right here on the News Blog for the launch schedule for this new ME-TV station in Milwaukee! We will be the first to post it, I'm sure.

Sticking with ME-TV, ME-TV in Chicago is still going strong. It just launched its new Chill with Me winter line-up and added shows such as Gilligan's Island and My Favorite Martian. Now, WWME (ME-TV Chicago) has announced it intends to add classic reruns to WFBT-Ch. 48 and rename it WMEU-TV beginning March 1. WWME-23 has called itself ME-TV. WFBT-48 will call itself ME-Too.
Besides being broadcast and carried by some area cable providers, the channels also will be available on digital sub-channels belonging to sister station WCIU-Ch. 26, WCIU-DT 26.2 and 26.3 respectively.
Between ME-TV and ME-Too, more than 100 different series will be aired! Having ME-Too will allow development of targeted blocks of programming for different demographics. It also will create a classic program stream when sports preempts regularly scheduled shows.
Among the shows we will see will be a Saturday night "pajama party" lineup will feature sitcoms Square Pegs, Silver Spoons, Facts of Life, The Monkees, The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family. Also we can expect a Sunday "Noir at Night" block of Route 66, Naked City, 77 Sunset Strip and Boris Karloff's Thriller.
Let's hope ME-TV and ME-Too expand to more cities. It would be nice to have at least a ME-TV in most markets...Chicago and Milwaukee are very lucky! I hope we get one in New York!
As we said about ME-TV Milwaukee's launch schedule, stay tuned right here on the News Blog for the launch schedule for Chicago's ME-Too! We will be the first to post it, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, something similar to ME-TV is of course Retro Television Network. RTN is now well over in 50 different markets and growing each day! Retro Television Network announced that it will partner with GOCOM Media of Illinois to bring RTN programming to Champaign/Springfield/Decatur, IL. The network will launch early next year on one of the digital streams of WRSP/WBUI.

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Friday, February 01, 2008

Day 89: WGA's Strike; NATPE Notes, Fall 2008 Syndication Preview; Classic TV Trading Cards

Well it is now day 89 of the strike. No announcements yet of the happenings at the informal meetings. New scripted programming can still be found on the networks these days even though most shows have gone dark in airings. Returning series such as Lost, Medium, Brothers & Sisters, Boston Legal, Men in Trees, According to Jim, Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, October Road, and The New Adventures of Old Christine have some episodes still left to air. While new series are still coming like last night's premiere of Eli Stone, the upcoming premiere of Lipstick Jungle, Cashmere Mafia, Sarah Connor Chronicles,, and the new sitcom Welcome to the Captain. We will have a full review of Welcome to the Captain here tomorrow, so come on back. The sitcom premieres CBS Monday at 8:30pm.
So don't stop watching TV because the strike is going on. There are still a lot of scripted shows still on the air with new episodes. But yes we would like the strike to end so we can get most of our favorites back on the air.
Meanwhile, Fox has picked-up 13 more episodes of the reality show The Moment of Truth. Now the show will have 25 episodes for this season.

NATPE's annual syndication conference ended yesterday. No real notes are in as of yet, as this has been a quieter than usual NATPE. It certainly started strong with tons of updates the first day or two, but it ends with a whimper. But as promised, we will preview for you all the new entries for syndication in Fall 2008! Here is a tentative list:

Fall 2008 Syndication
Off-Network Daily Sitcoms
Tyler Perry's House of Payne (Debmar-Mercury)

Off-Network Weekend Dramas
Boston Legal (20th Century Fox)
CSI: NY (CBS Television Distribution)
Desperate Housewives (Disney/ABC Studios)
Lost (Disney/ABC Studios)
Monk (NBC Universal)

Off-Network Weekend Reality
American Chopper (Debmar-Mercury)
Cribs (Litton Entertainment)
Gladiators 2000 (MGM)
Pimp My Ride (Litton Entertainment)
Storm Stories (Litton Entertainment)

First-Run Daily Talk Shows
The Bonnie Hunt Show (Warner Bros.)
The Doctors (CBS Television Distribution)
The Donald Trump Show * (20th Century Fox)
Godfrey Live * (Radar Entertainment)
Teen Talk with India Oxenberg * (Radar Entertainment)
Untitled Steve Harvey Project * (20th Century Fox)

First-Run Daily Court Shows
Family Court with Judge Penny (Program Partners)
Judge Karen (Sony Pictures Television)
Star Witness * (Radar Entertainment)

First-Run Daily Game Shows
Deal or No Deal (NBC Universal)
Trivial Pursuit: America Plays (Debmar-Mercury)

First-Run Weekend Shows
Terry Goodkind's Wizard's First Rule (Disney/ABC Studios)

* - Not a firm go yet, and no buys as of yet.

We will update you with clearances and if the projects with not a firm go yet are cleared. So keep checking back!

Sports legends aren't all you'll find in your packs of trading cards this year as Donruss taps into the world of Hollywood and pop culture to create a one-of-a-kind card set that captures the flavor of Americas rich and storied show biz history. Over 100 personalities are featured in Donruss Americana with more than 50 signing autographs and contributing memorabilia to the unique product.
Decorated actor Larry Hagman, who played notorious oil baron J.R. Ewing in Dallas as well as Anthony Nelson in I Dream of Jeannie appear in Donruss Americana as both personas, including a dual-autograph card with Jeannie co-star Barbara Eden.
Gilligan's Island stars Russell Johnson (The Professor) and Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) are also featured in Americana with a dual-autograph card, individual common cards, and authentic personally worn shirt piece card (Dawn Wells only). Bob Denver (Gilligan) hasn't been forgotten as he is part of the Hollywood Legends basic subset and rare material swatch subset.
More recent TV pop stars such as Married with Children's Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy) and Katey Sagal (Peggy Bundy) tag up in the Co-Stars Signature Series as well as the Co-Star Material Series sets. Both stars are individually represented in the common card set along with David Faustino (Bud).
Each 5-card pack sells for $40 and guarantees collectors either one autograph or memorabilia card in each pack. For more information visit your local hobby shop or www.Donruss.com.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 12: WGA's Strike; KTLA in LA Celebrates 60 Years On-Air with Classic Marathon

We are now in day 12 of the writers' strike. Still nothing new to report at all. According to Jim continues to be the only sitcom still in production. They probably had the scripts done since they didn't start taping until like early October. So they probably will run out soon...it is believe the show has an 18 episode order, so maybe 10 episodes will be done.
Picketing today: elected officials will pick up picket signs and march with film and TV writers on Day Twelve of the Writers Guild of America strike fight for a fair and just contract at CBS Television City. Following his public statement of solidarity with the Writers Guild of America last week, U.S. Senator John Edwards will join striking writers on the picket line today to support the WGA in its ongoing fight to secure a fair and reasonable deal in front of the NBC sign in Burbank.

KTLA in Los Angeles is celebrating 60 years on air and they will celebrate with a 60-hour Retro Marathon to celebrate their 60th anniversary year. The shows they will air will be some of the greatest shows that they have aired in the last 60 years! The marathon begins on Friday, November 23 at 10pm and runs all-day Saturday, all-day Sunday, and lasts until Monday, November 26 at 10am. KTLA will have an awesome variety of shows representing what KTLA has aired in reruns over the past 60 years - The Jack Benny Program, The Honeymooners, Kung Fu, Rawhide, The Big Valley, Hopalong Cassidy, Bonanza, Little House On The Prairie, Lassie, Uncle Waldo's Cartoons, Underdog, Popeye & Friends, Little Rascals, Gidget, Charles In Charge, Doogie Howser, M.D., Dr. Kildare, Emergency!, Highway Patrol, C.H.i.P.s., Dragnet, 21 Jump Street, Wonder Woman, Peter Gunn, I Spy, Hunter, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, McHale's Navy, F Troop, Mayberry R.F.D., The Andy Griffith Show, The Munsters, The Three Stooges, The Monkees, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Family Matters, What's Happening!!, Cheers, Friends, Laverne & Shirley, Happy Days, Please Don't Eat The Daisies, The Partridge Family, Father Knows Best, The Brady Bunch, Leave It To Beaver, The Twilight Zone, Lost In Space, Star Trek, Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Tarzan, Gilligan's Island, and Time For Beany! Even KTLA's newscasts will participate by bringing you current and then retro news stories that they've covered during the past 60 years!
Wow! So many classics! Sounds like a great weekend! Lucky people in Los Angeles! To see the schedule grid, head on over to their website!

If we have more news, we will come back later today. Enjoy your weekend.

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